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Avast! Anti-Virus and/or FireFox don't seem compatible on USB

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LynnL
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Avast! Anti-Virus and/or FireFox don't seem compatible on USB

This topic was "bookmarks" ... but I feel it important to make more visible for users of U3 and Avast! to see. The issue is FireFox under U3 starts leaving behind tons of old temporary bookmark files like these (notice time created):

11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-1.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-2.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,593 bookmarks-3.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-4.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-5.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-6.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-7.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-8.html
11/21/2006 08:39 AM 185,597 bookmarks-9.html

- and

11/21/2006 09:28 AM 5,809 sessionstore-1.js
11/21/2006 09:37 AM 5,323 sessionstore-2.js
11/21/2006 09:38 AM 6,569 sessionstore-3.js
11/21/2006 09:42 AM 14,517 sessionstore-4.js
11/21/2006 09:43 AM 12,970 sessionstore-5.js

If you turn off Avast! AV (promoted at U3 site) this stops - but you'll still need to manually delete the old files.

I am guessing that FireFox fails to delete these temp files because when it tries to delete them Avast! has them open to scan. Thus perhaps FireFox just abandons them & never retries to delete them.

LynnL
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Is unrelated to host AV

I did tests with my Cruzer on hosts using MircoTrend, Norton, Avira, and Avast.

The temporary files continue to show up in all cases *IF* the U3-version of Avast! is active ... accept if the host also has Avast! Home Edition then the U3 version perhaps bows out of the picture and just a very few show up - maybe 1 or 2 an hour.

But this is still an issue - I cannot count the number of times I've checked a relatives computer and found 5% of the hardware dedicated to a 3 or 4-year old collection of files in the /Windows/Temp directory.

Avast! may need to change the way their AV works, but I think FireFox needs to be more careful not to abandon (or to recycle) old temporary files it leaves behind.

Lynn August Linse; Industrial Specialist
http://iatips.com

John T. Haller
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It's an Avast issue

They're probably at least temporarily locking the files, which means Firefox can't do anything with them. I suggest contacting Avast support.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

LynnL
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Yes, already done & hopefully moving

I won't blame 100% on Avast - probably 95% Avast's fault and 5% FireFox - even if the temp files are locked for a few milliseconds during a scan, at some point (when FF restarts?) FF should look into cleaning up after itself. I mean, suppose the system crashed while such a temp file existed ... does that mean they should now exist forever? FF created them & should be responsible for them long-term - even across a reboot.

Anyway, I put this info on the Avast support site and have had 2 engineers reply already. They were a bit shocked that FireFox defaults to putting temp files on a flash drive, given that Flash is both slow and has a limited rewrite life. They have a point ... although I'd wager the gold USB contacts in your average reinserted-daily portable USB drive will fail far faster than the flash memory.

Lynn August Linse; Industrial Specialist
http://iatips.com

John T. Haller
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All portable apps do

Actually, nearly all portable apps store temp files on the flash drive at some point, as do many u3 apps (all the ones I've done). You should probably let them know that.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

static
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The reason I use U3 is

The reason I use U3 is because I want as little and if possible zero trace left on any computer I use... if an anti-virus program locks files and that prevents them from being deleted... I am grateful that they are on my u3 key and not on the host computers hard disk. I personally find Avasts comment partially ignorant of the u3 technology and the purposes behind it.

Will Static

Will Static

John T. Haller
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U3 Leaves Traces

Actually, U3 leaves it up to programs to clean up after themselves (some U3 apps do not do this correctly). And the U3 platform itself leaves traces on every computer you use it on. You can usually find files left behind in:

C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\U3

You'll find an EXE or two in there as well as the folders for any app that doesn't correctly clean up after itself. And, for U3 apps that copy themselves locally to run (like, say, Winamp), you can use undelete and find all those bits left behind on the PC, too.

I don't think U3 has ever advertised itself as leaving no trace. Every single portable applications concept leaves at least some traces behind. On Windows XP, for instance, you can check the C:\Windows\Prefetch directory and see a trace of every single app you've run... even if it was run portably... from portable apps or U3 or Ceedo. They all leave at least some traces.

With all the apps I release, I try to make them run entirely from the portable device when I can without copying anything locally (not possible for the U3 ports of my apps due to the U3 way of doing things, but I get as close as possible). When things are required to be changed on the local PC, I ensure that they're changed back when you exit the application (for my U3 ports, it's when you click Eject).

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

LynnL
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FYI another Avast issue

Actually, I found another bug in Avast! U3 Edition (which I'm not normally running now). I also notified Avast support forum (which some eager beaver immediately tagged my post as a "duplicate" of the FireFox issue)

Avast! U3 Edition seems to keep a growing text file/log (\Data\AvastU3.log) with no way to limit it's size. Actually, they probably have an internal limit - maybe defaults to 50MB or some other size suitable for 100+GB drives ... we'll see what they do.

Personally, as engineer I don't care if my USB tools leave some temp files on a host. My only need for a USB portable life are:
1) for common data as bookmarks & password manager.
2) for tools when I CANNOT install anything on the customer's host system.

Thanks
- LynnL

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